Hardliners Denounce Israel, Call for Obama Cancellation
Islamist hardliners called on Tuesday for the government to cancel a visit to Jakarta this month by US President Barack Obama in protest at Israel’s bloody raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy.
Hundreds of radicals took to the streets to denounce Israel and its ally the United States over the commando raid on the humanitarian flotilla, which killed nine activists.
Some 400 protesters linked to hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir gathered outside the US embassy in Jakarta with banners reading “Crush Israel, Reject Obama” and “Wipe Out Zionist State.”
“The US always protects Israel and turns a blind eye to whatever barbaric, brutal and vile actions it commits against our Muslim brothers in Palestine,” Hizbut Tahrir coordinator Budi Darmawan told the AFP newswire.
He said that unless the United States changed its policy of supporting the Jewish state, Indonesians should not allow US President Barack Obama to visit.
“If it doesn’t do anything, as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country we have the right to expel the US and Obama from our country,” he said.
Hizbut Tahrir wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in Southeast Asia. It has little support among ordinary Indonesians.
Another 300 members of the group protested in Bandung, West Java, also focusing their rage against Obama and the United States.
Similar rallies took place in other cities including Surabaya, Surakarta and Batam, according to the Antara state news agency.
On its website, Hizbut Tahrir called on the Indonesian government to cancel Obama’s visit to Jakarta, where he spent part of his childhood.
“We call on the government not to receive, welcome or treat Obama as an honourable guest,” it said, adding that ordinary Indonesians would gain nothing from the visit.
Israeli commandos clashed with international activists as they attempted to turn back the aid flotilla early on Monday, in line with Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.Filed under: Headlines